1. Laying the groundwork for learning
Keith Kruger, CEO, Consortium for School Networking

This will be the year of building the capacity for digital learning. That means we need a renewed focus on infrastructure. With the big new E-rate investment in broadband connectivity and Wi-Fi for every classroom, it is time for education technology leaders to focus on designing smart, robust, and scalable education networks. Our focus increasingly must be on ensuring that we have the bandwidth and the network reliability for mission-critical instruction and operations.  And it means that mobility will be driving new possibilities. Going forward, we will not be talking just about one-to-one computing, but rather about creating “always on” learning environments where each learner has multiple devices.

Finally—and most importantly—we also know that infrastructure alone will not transform learning. The most critical factor is building the human capacity and creating the culture to leverage these digital opportunities. This will not happen overnight, nor will it happen by simply flipping a switch. But it will happen when leaders set expectations and create a climate for innovation. Let’s make 2015 the time to move beyond rhetoric and make digital learning a reality.

2. Data getting smarter
Kristen DiCerbo, Principal Research Scientist for Pearson’s Center for Digital Data, Analytics, and Adaptive Learning

While digital innovation has dominated K-12 education throughout the past decade, as we enter 2015 I predict we will start to see a shift in focus to how people and technology can best combine to positively impact learner outcomes. One area where we are already beginning to see a shift is in regard to the concept of digital learning and personalization. We will see a significant change as personalization will transition from the focus on data and machine choices, toward technology as a decision support for teachers, students and parents. The technology will recommend, and teachers can digest the suggestions and adjust their instructional models accordingly.

3. More opportunities realized
Cheryl Scott Williams, Executive Director, Learning First Alliance

In 2015, schools will continue to focus on tools and content that they can use to support both teacher growth and student achievement to the new higher standards (aka Common Core). To the extent handheld devices continue to come down in price, more districts will move into one-to-one computing to capture and keep student attention on learning exploration and to take advantage of the publishing industry’s new focus on creation of digital content. More publicly available free content, including primary sources via the Library of Congress, the Archives, the National Park Service, NASA, and other government sources will become central to wise implementation of one-to-one initiatives. And, finally, with the increase in E-Rate funding, more schools will be connected to broadband so all this can actually take place.

(Next page: Prepare for new rules and some collaborative dialogue in the year ahead)